Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 3rd Dec 2014 23:31 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y

Interesting video comparing Android Auto with Apple's CarPlay (via Daring Fireball).

The takeaway for me is clear - CarPlay looks like a mess, with iOS 6 stuff intermingled with vague iOS 7+ designs, but without any clear vision tying it all together. In short, it's ugly as sin. Android Auto looks fantastic and coherent - but it seems far too distracting to be safe to use while driving. It looks too good to be in a car in which it is very easy to either kill yourself or someone else - or both.

Interesting, though, that car makers are simply putting both systems in their cars.

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Plugging in
by WorknMan on Thu 4th Dec 2014 00:59 UTC
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Kinda sucks that you have to plug the devices in... a bit impractical for shorter trips. Why can't it optionally work wirelessly like it does on watches?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Plugging in
by dnebdal on Thu 4th Dec 2014 01:48 UTC in reply to "Plugging in"
dnebdal Member since:

I guess you'll be able to buy some sort of dock you just stuff the phone in. And I suspect they're actually driving the screen as an external monitor, which might be harder to do wireless. The highest bluetooth speeds might perhaps be up to the task, but that sounds like it'd chew through your battery fairly quickly?

Edited 2014-12-04 01:49 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Plugging in
by _txf_ on Thu 4th Dec 2014 02:37 UTC in reply to "Plugging in"
_txf_ Member since:

Maybe in the future it will be wireless. But wired is far more reliable. Just think being stuck in traffic and everybody's wireless devices interfering with each other. Maybe once we have 802.11ad we can have reliable and short distance communication.

The added benefit is that it also charges your device. Using GPS+internet still guzzles power...

Edited 2014-12-04 02:38 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Plugging in
by WorknMan on Thu 4th Dec 2014 03:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Plugging in"
WorknMan Member since:

Yeah, I wouldn't be using GPS on a trip to the grocery store, but streaming music wirelessly and being able to navigate controls on that screen would be nice. I think bluetooth would suffice in these instances, since it pretty much works already, minus the on-screen controls.

As is, it's COMPLETELY impractical to have to dig the phone out of my pocket every time I get in the car. It's worse than the solution we currently have, in that our control over playlists and such may be more limited, but at least the phone can stay in our pocket.

Then again, this is really 1st world problems we're talking about here ;)

Edited 2014-12-04 03:45 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Plugging in
by shotsman on Thu 4th Dec 2014 06:50 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Plugging in"
shotsman Member since:

You might not be using GPS on the trip to the Grocery Store but plenty of people do just that.
My GPS (Tomtom) only comes out when I'm going to places I don't know and using a physical Map is awkward such as when I'm on my Tiger 1050.
Sadly, far too many people have become lazy and follow the 'GPS told me to go this way' and then end up in the middle of a field of Corn(or worse) just because of an error in the data.

The MS System in a Ford that I rented (from JFK) a few months ago was a total failure. It seemed to assume that only people with a Windows Phone would want to conect to it. At least with Car Makers putting support for both thr Apple and Android systems in their vehicles they will get a far higher level of user satisfaction than if they'd followed the Ford example.

Reply Score: 2

My thoughts
by mkone on Thu 4th Dec 2014 02:35 UTC
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Android Auto "looks" better, but Apple CarPlay is probably better to use while driving.

I am not so interested in texting while driving - I would have laws against it if it were up to me.

However, when I am driving, I want any touch interface to be reasonably static, not just while I am driving, but for months and years. Without seeing both in operation for a long period, I would say that CarPlay looks easier but Android Auto looks much nicer.

Reply Score: 3

RE: My thoughts
by xslogic on Thu 4th Dec 2014 11:44 UTC in reply to "My thoughts"
xslogic Member since:

I want any touch interface to be reasonably static,

And that, in itself, is a problem. Touch interfaces aren't impossible to use when you're driving, but they do add a distraction.

This is part of the reason stalk controls for audio came into being.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: My thoughts
by xslogic on Thu 4th Dec 2014 13:26 UTC in reply to "RE: My thoughts"
xslogic Member since:

...and yes, sat navs typically have touch interfaces - but you can set them up before you leave and let them get on with it.

If you're suddenly cold and want to warm up, (Or vice-versa) you really don't want to have to navigate a set of menus to get that. Likewise changing music.

Caveat: The only touch screen interface I have used in a car is a sat nav.

Reply Score: 2

by immanos on Thu 4th Dec 2014 07:57 UTC
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Google Now makes a ton of sense in a car. Awesome.

Reply Score: 2

by wocowboy on Thu 4th Dec 2014 11:31 UTC
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Both systems look OK, Google of course loads up the interface with dozens of buttons on the screen all the time, again going for choice rather than simplicity, and, I would argue, safety. I would be very interested to know just how much of these interfaces is on-screen when the car is in motion versus sitting still.

Reply Score: 1

Guess which distribution is not in.
by moondevil on Thu 4th Dec 2014 14:44 UTC
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It starts with a T...

The hard truth is that car makers are adopting iOS, Android and JavaFX[1] solutions for their infotainment systems, not that T.... distribution that cannot decide where to go.

[1] "Reactive Modeling of Automotive User Interfaces with JavaFX" from Volkswagen Group Research at Java ONE 2014

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Thu 4th Dec 2014 18:15 UTC
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I'm neither blown away nor disappointed by what I saw in the video. I'd like to revisit the comparison once both are more refined & polished. The potential is there but the job is far from over.

Btw, I could have done without that garbage music playing in the background of the video.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Troels
by Troels on Thu 4th Dec 2014 18:42 UTC
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Interesting walkthrough, i am really really surprised the Apple version looks so incredibly bad, it is like they simply slapped a slightly tweaked old iPhone interface up on the screen. If i was playing with it myself and saw those blank screens with siri control i would think it was broken. Hiding the message text is probably not that bad an idea...while driving, but feels silly while parked.

Anyway, they will probably fix this eventually, and both systems looks like an improvement since no auto maker seems to have any idea how to design an infotainment system. (just like the mobile phone manufacturers had no clue how to make smartphones before the iPhone)

Now what i am really looking forward to is a review of both systems WITHOUT touching them but controlling them only through the steering wheel controls and voice control, this is after all how you will hopefully interact with it while driving. It can be oh so pretty, but if i have to stare at it to control it then it is useless. (i can live with having to touch it for navigation, voice recognition in danish is not that great and while i can just use english for the system language i can't fix the street names :-))

I also hope they will support multiple displays, many cars have a multi function display in the middle of the dashboard which would be much more convenient to quickly glance at when trying to find a radio channel or viewing next turn when using navigation.

But interesting that the car interface is suddenly a factor to consider when picking a phone, i would have prefered the system to be autonomous and only connect to the phone to access extra media and to make calls / send messages.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Troels
by darknexus on Thu 4th Dec 2014 20:31 UTC in reply to "Comment by Troels"
darknexus Member since:

I also hope they will support multiple displays, many cars have a multi function display in the middle of the dashboard which would be much more convenient to quickly glance at when trying to find a radio channel or viewing next turn when using navigation.

Jesus. Texting while driving isn't enough regardless of how many people it kills. Now you idiots want to move physical controls which you can operate without taking your eyes off the road for a second to a big touch screen you have to look at just to find a f**king radio station? Seriously, does no one see the problem here at all?

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by Troels
by Troels on Fri 5th Dec 2014 08:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Troels"
Troels Member since:

Uh no, oppposite for me, i want to use the switch on the steering wheel to change radio station, i never want to remove my hands from the steering wheel while driving. But since it is not like i have a physical button per station i need somewhere to see where it is in the list. In my current VW that place is right in the middle of the dashboard where it is written with large friendly letters.

I don't really want any text messages while driving, and even if i did i would want them spoken and want to dictate a reply, but most likely i would pull over if i need to reply.

Also i think the difference between touch buttons and physical buttons are exaggerated, in most cars there are a million small damn equal looking buttons in the center console with a tiny little symbol on it, making it annoying to find the correct one. With properly designed graphical buttons i think the time i have to stare at the damn thing could actually go down, not up, but again, i would prefer not having to ever have to touch the center console while driving.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Troels
by David on Thu 4th Dec 2014 21:00 UTC in reply to "Comment by Troels"
David Member since:

I agree. From a strictly aesthetic perspective, the Apple UI is amateurish and lazy. The Android interface looks really slick, but seems like it's a usability nightmare from the perspective of safety and the amount of sustained attention is takes to do anything, with flddly little buttons.

I think that Apple's philosophy of requiring a minimal amount of manual poking around to do things, and a focus on voice commands is laudable, but I'm not a big fan of how Siri actually works in real life.

My verdict: both of these products will probably improve with more development.

Reply Score: 3